A question often asked is “How fast should I walk?”. The answer appears to be “As fast as you can without losing the ability to hold a conversation”. In other words, walk at a pace that is brisk but does not prevent you from talking to a friend in a normal manner. This is sometimes called the “talk test”.
Walking should be an aerobic exercise. Aerobic means that exercise is carried out at a comfortable pace to ensure that the muscles have sufficient oxygen available. If you are gasping for breath, you are doing anaerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise done three times a week for 30 minutes or more will result in increased levels of fitness and aerobic capacity.
An interesting study done at Loughbrough University came up with some very interesting results. The researchers found that walking continuously for 30 minutes 5 days a week provided nearly identical increases in fitness as splitting 30 minutes into three 10-minute walks. More surprising was the finding that the short walkers lost more weight and reported greater decreases in waist circumference than the long walkers!
All of this research seems to point to the fact that getting fit is really very simple and doesn't require any sort of complicated exercise regimen. Just get out there and walk every day in whatever manner you can manage and you will reap the benefits of walking!